News Briefs: Centene Reaches 11th Settlement Over PBM Practices
Centene Corp. agreed to pay Washington $19 million to resolve allegations that it overcharged the state’s Medicaid program for pharmacy benefit management services. As part of the resolution, Centene will pay an additional $13 million to the federal government “for administration of Medicaid in Washington state,” according to a press release from Washington’s attorney general. The agreement with Washington is Centene’s 11th such settlement with a state regarding how its PBM subsidiary Envolve administered pharmacy benefits in Medicaid.
The public will likely need annual COVID-19 vaccinations in the future, similar to how the flu is treated, White House officials said during a recent press briefing. “It is becoming increasingly clear that, looking forward with the COVID-19 pandemic, in the absence of a dramatically different variant, we likely are moving towards a path with a vaccination cadence similar to that of the annual influenza vaccine, with annual, updated COVID-19 shots matched to the currently circulating strains for most of the population,” said Anthony Fauci, M.D., the president’s chief medical adviser. Ashish Jha, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, said the U.S. is able to pursue this strategy because it now has vaccines available that match the dominant strain circulating — a first since the pandemic started. However, some “vulnerable groups” might continue to need more frequent vaccination against COVID-19, Fauci said on Aug. 6.